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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000076.txt from 2011/04

From: Tom Bassett <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Need Help with Embouchure & Tuning
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2011 00:08:14 -0400

Three things that always helped me were to pull the corners of my mouth back, play some excerises "double lip", and to imagine playing with cool air

> Date: Sat, 23 Apr 2011 21:36:20 +0200
> From:
> To:
> Subject: [kl] Need Help with Embouchure & Tuning
> Hi everyone.
> I started playing Bb clarinet about 16 or 17 years ago, and I'm still
> playing the Yamaha student model my dad purchased about 15 years ago. I
> don't know much about the body of clarinets, but it seems to be in very
> good shape except for a couple of keys that stick. I've never had any
> formal clarinet training outside of the non-individualized concert band
> courses I took in junior high (in the California Bay Area). I've been
> trying to teach myself tonguing, and the result is that my embouchure
> has had to change. I'm not sure I ever knew a proper embouchure
> position, in fact; I've been figuring everything out on my own. I play
> Vandoren reeds exclusively, and it's been several months now that I've
> been playing a nice new Vandoren mouthpiece, size M13.
> I'm afraid that my embouchure is incorrect. I have been experiencing
> some mouth fatigue, but I assumed it was due to the new position I've
> had to use for tonguing. I find it difficult to keep a tight, closed
> grip on the mouthpiece in my current embouchure position, which results
> in air escaping from the sides of my mouth sometimes. Although I have a
> very strong, solid tone, I find the reed sometimes making a strange
> noise - not the squeak of a beginning player, but a sort of high-pitched
> squeal. It seems to occur when I'm not being careful about the strength
> of my air flow. Trumpet is my primary instrument, and I've done a lot of
> body work to be able to produce a strong air flow, but I feel that I
> have to hold back a lot with the clarinet. I play my best on a Vadoren
> size 3 (with this mouthpiece, anyhow), but I've tried going up to a 3.5,
> thinking the 3 wasn't enough to handle the air flow. I found it too
> stiff for me. I would like some tips or links or something to
> information about correct embouchure. I can google my heart out, but I
> don't know which sources I can trust.
> Also, I'm having a terrible time tuning the instrument. This could be
> related to the embouchure uncertainty, but I'm afraid it won't improve
> because it's just a student model clarinet. I first tune the throat G,
> then the G an octave above. This seems to work well for G, C above
> middle C, and B, and the chalumeau register is ok. My clarion and upper
> chalumeau E's, however, are consistently significantly sharp, more than
> I can remedy by a change in embouchure alone. Middle C and D about are
> always slightly flat. It almost seems completely impossible to tune the
> upper clarion; when I play these notes, I have a sense of not being in
> control and having to exert an extreme amout of control over my tone
> because it is just so easy to put air through the instrument. It feels
> /too/ easy; I feel the need for some resistance against the air flow,
> but the Vandoren 3.5 is too much. I'm noticing myself getting into the
> ugly habit of using my throat in an attempt to control the air flow
> because keeping my throat open feels like unleashing a hurricane on the
> reed.
> I would be very grateful for any suggestions that might help me.
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